Coronavirus impact on planning

Service update

At the current time the Council is continuing to register and validate planning applications and deal with the applications in a near as normal way as possible. This follows the advice of Central Government. In additions, consultations are on going and follow the advice recently issued by the Government.

The Council relies on external parties to carry out the statutory consultation process and the ability to fulfil this is being monitored.

Planning enforcement requests continue to be actioned where possible. However, site visits are limited to exceptional circumstances, such as works to Listed Building and Trees subject to a Tree Preservation Order.

Development management and planning enforcement officers are not currently conducting site visits; you may be requested to provide further photographic information to assist in progressing cases. Please supply photographs with your application on submission.

The Development Management service is continuing to deal with its regular range of cases. However, as all staff are following the Prime Minister’s advice aimed at limiting the spread of COVID-19 and are largely working from home, the service is not able to receive or process hard copy correspondence. During this temporary period, it is recommended in order to avoid delays that:

  • Planning applications should be made online at the Planning Portal
  • Representations on applications should be made online
  • All correspondence should be sent electronically to: planning@wandsworth.gov.uk

Revised hours of working on construction sites

The guidance for the temporary application route to amend construction hours introduced via the Business and Planning Act 2020 ended on 31 March 2021. A written ministerial statement made on 25 March 2021 set out the Government’s support for continued flexibility in respect of construction working hours until 30 September 2021.

The Written Ministerial Statement ‘Construction Update’ (13 May 2020) made it clear that construction work can be undertaken providing sites are able to operate safely in line with the new COVID-19 Secure guidelines. The Business & Planning Act includes legislation to make temporary extensions to work hours that may be required to facilitate safe working and allow tasks to be completed where social distancing can be challenging. Longer working hours may also be needed to facilitate social distancing in the wider community, for instance by reducing pressure on public transport.

Local planning authorities are being called upon to take a swift and positive approach to requests from developers for greater flexibility around construction site working hours. The London Borough of Wandsworth appreciate that a balance needs to be reached between protecting residents and businesses that are sensitive to noise, dust or vibration, and enabling the construction industry to recover to provide vital homes, schools, community facilities and business

The Government produced further guidance on 22 July 2020 which outlines a new fast track 'deemed consent' route to amend an existing planning restriction on construction working hours.

This new route is provided under section 74B of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 and allows urgent changes to construction working hours to support safe construction working. For many construction sites, the implementation of this guidance will require changes to working practices, including staggered starts and finishes, requiring different hours of operation to those which are currently permitted. This temporary, fast track deemed consent route enables existing hours of construction work imposed in a planning condition or in details discharged by a planning condition to be varied.

Information to accompany an application

There is no specific application form or fee that would apply to the submission of these applications. Applicants will need to provide details of:

  • The planning permission to which the application relates
  • The existing agreed construction working hours
  • Details to identify the condition or approved document such as construction management plan which details the working hours
  • The proposed revised construction working hours
  • The date the revised construction working hours should take effect
  • The date on which the application is sent
  • The date on which the revised construction working hours should cease to have effect (no later than 30 September 2021)

To aid swift decision making, applicants should also provide:

  • A short justification on why extended hours are necessary to enable safe working practices on site
  • A list of the primary construction activities expected to take place during the extended working hours, including plant and equipment to be used
  • A proportionate assessment (where relevant) of the likely impact of noise upon sensitive uses near to the site (e.g. dwellings, hospitals and, care homes)
  • Details of their mitigation plan as set out in the guidance

Please note that applications can only be made online.

The new guidance gives The London Borough of Wandsworth 14 calendar days to consider such an application. If an application is approved, this will temporarily amend planning restrictions on construction working hours until 30 September 2021, unless another date has been agreed by the local planning authority and applicant. If the application is not determined within 14 days (excluding public holidays), the revised working hours are deemed to have been consented to and construction can take place in accordance with these new hours.

Permissions extended

The Business and Planning Act 2020 temporarily modifies the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 and the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 to enable certain planning permissions and listed building consents in England which have lapsed or are due to lapse during 2020 to be extended.

Under section 93A of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, unimplemented planning permissions with time limits for implementation which were due to lapse between 19 August 2020 (when the provisions came into force) and 31 December 2020 are extended to 1 May 2021. This happens automatically, with no requirement to obtain Additional Environmental Approval.

Temporary uses

In June 2020, amendments were made to The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) (Amendment) Order 2015 to increase the period that temporary uses can operate without the need for express planning consent (see regulation 20 and regulation 4).

Class B, Part 4, Schedule 2 of the above Order already allows for the use of any land for any purpose for up to 28 days in total in any calendar year (and 14 days for markets) and the provision of any moveable structure associated to that permitted use. This is subject to the site not being within the curtilage of a building. 

In June 2020, Class BA was introduced to the Order, which allows for the use of any land, in addition to that permitted by Class B, Part 4 of Schedule 2, for any purposes for not more than 28 days (56 in total) during the period 1 July 2020 to 31 December 2020 - recently extended to 31 December 2021 (and 14 days for markets) and the provision of any moveable structures for the purpose of the permitted use. This is subject to the site not being within the curtilage of a listed building.

Therefore, between 1 July 2020 and 31 December 2021:

  • Land that is not within the curtilage of a building can operate a temporary use for 56 days
  • Land that is within the curtilage of a non-listed building can operate a temporary use for 28 days
  • Land within a curtilage of a listed building has no temporary use rights

Important

The above permitted development rights do not override the need to:

  • Gain landowner’s approval
  • Have insurance and liability for any temporary use
  • Maintain public rights of way and access
  • Be COVID-19 Secure

The Council also requests that:

  • You keep a record of the days that the land is in temporary use and have this available upon request should officers need to enquire about the period of use. 
  • The hours of operation are mindful and respectful towards neighbours
  • The space is well managed
  • The land is kept free from litter and clean
  • There are appropriate arrangements in place for the safe disposal of waste

Temporary structures

On 16 April 2021 the Government introduced changes to The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) (Amendment) Order 2015 to allow hospitality venues (pubs, cafes, restaurants) and historic visitor attractions to erect temporary moveable structures to increase seating capacity and support the economic recovery of the sector.

These are set out under Class BB, Part 4, Schedule 2 of the Order and apply until 1 January 2022 after which time the moveable structures must be removed.

The following conditions also apply:

  • The moveable structure must be erected within the curtilage of the premises
  • The moveable structure must not be used for the display of advertisements
  • The provisions do not apply to scheduled monuments
  • The moveable structure must not cause the alteration, demolition or extension of a listed building

Whilst not a statutory requirement, you are able to apply for a Lawful Development Certificate for a Proposed use, and submit to the Local Planning Authority for confirmation.